GOLDSTEIN, an acronym for the title Debunking Political Uses of Denialisms and Conspiracy Theories in EU is the new project co-funded by the Jean Monnet European program and coordinated by the Sant'Anna School, with Marco Solinas, researcher in political philosophy at the Dirpolis Institute (Law, Politics, Development). The initiative was born out of the need to face the increasingly frequent recourse to conspiracism, of which populist movements and extreme right-wing parties are examples, which seek to broaden their consensus by diverting to phantom scapegoats malaise, anger and social anxieties.
Emblematic and particularly serious are the cases related to climate negationism and the Covid-19 virus, where the appeal to conspiracies of various kinds, such as "Big Pharma," is aimed at justifying the thesis of the non-existence, or inducing radical distortion, of facts established by the international scientific community. These dangerous phenomena, also judged as such by the European Commission, in that they pollute the dialogic processes of public opinion formation by inserting indemonstrable arguments taken from obscure and scientifically inconsistent sources, erode some fundamental preconditions of the life and resilience of democratic institutions. Not to mention some, more or less explicit, traits of anti-Semitism that often give a markedly discriminatory character to these opinion movements.
The main goals, therefore, of the European project, which involves an international team of professors from the Sant'Anna School, the Scuola Normale Superiore, the University of Freiburg, the University of Manchester and the Center for Research on Anti-Semitism at the University of Berlin, are to unmask the specific forms of the political uses of conspiracy theories and to promote debate on these issues both at the level of scientific and academic research and in the public sphere. As part of the initiative, numerous activities are planned, such as summer schools, university courses, seminars, workshops and conferences, with related publications, as well as organized public debates through collaboration with journalists, foundations and civil society associations. To account for the multidimensionality of the phenomena being analyzed, an interdisciplinary research methodology will be adopted, with a focus on the fields of political science, history and law.
More information and updates are available on the site dedicated to GOLDSTEIN: www.goldstein.santannapisa.it